This diary was written by my granduncle Bruno Stielow in summer 1945

The original diary is in german language. Here I made a translation that hardly can show the tension and feelings in these days. But it shows the facts and how the escape from Pomerania was...

My escape from home

With close attention the arrival of the Russians, who managed to break through at Neustettin and headed in direction Köslin, was watched for days. It was allready announced: "The Russian stands in Labes!" Official german army reports from the 2nd may1945  attested this and also said, that the Russian was stopped in Labes and counter-measures were working.

At 3rd march 1945, in the afternoon, 05:30pm there was excitement in the village Roman, the Russian was in Meseritz (9km distance from Roman). Georg Döpke drives with Mr Strenge to Petershagen (a town), to make sure if this is the truth. A personal questioning of Döpke, when he came back was successless. He said there was nothing. But as it became known later, the Russian was in the area, indeed.

About 09:00pm village Roman gets the order for packing. In my house were except 4 families, as refugees 4 women and 7 kids, among them cousin Herman Treptow´s daughter with 2 kids.

10:30pm the town-major gave the order:"Everybody who hasn´t a possibility of driving with someone else, women, children, old and ill have to go to the railway station." The train will drive via Greifenberg-Stepnitz. All teams will be started. I have sent my daughter Anneliese with an Army transport to Pasewalk on 1st. march 1945. She should go to Karl Mallon in Jatznick, where we all would meet later. My wife can drive with our neighbour Pommering who received the order to transport all documents of the dairy to Altentreptow. As my wife was packing, Eugen, my polish helper and I bring luggage to the railway station. Among the passangers will be my father and sister, too.

01:15am, 4th march 1945 the train leaves Roman. Another will follow. As the train left I asked my neighbour Pommering for his departure. Luggage of my wife is stowed away.

01:45am departure. I am alone. Except me, only neighbour Riwoldt is there. As we belong to the "Volkssturm" we feel obliged to stay in the village. We go to Lappe and receive 2 bottles of Cognac, some bottles of wine and the key. Marlene Lorey stopps to get a bicycle. As I go home with Marlene Lorey to give her the bike, Riwoldt goes to the filling station. Once again I go in my apartment, all neccesary things are put together, also the "inherited" bottle. Now I close the apartment to get connection in the village. Riwoldt and I were not ordered to do guard-duty. Also there was no alert. We search the guard-office, all is empty and left. I go to the barrage but cannot find anybody doing duty. In the meantime vehicles wait in double rows at the barrage. I order them to stay in row and keep the way free. Questions to members of the "Volkssturm" are answered "The Volkssturm is broken up!" So I get information that comrade P. Bock has loaded the luggage of  Mr. Korff and Korff, who is the companie leader of the Volkssturm is also on the flight. I go to the filling station to research my friend Max. He wasn´t there. I meet Ernst Gaedtke, who wanted to stay in the village, also E. Prochnow and Karl Baatz. Now I go to Riwoldt and tell him what I found out. We decided not to stay, but as long as possible. Max packs - my decision, I want to go home too and pack all I can get. My friend Max stopps me, we don´t want to be seperated in the last hour. He was right! And this was proved very soon. I felt restless. Max made me calm down - Just a second, I am ready soon!

I would not reach home, restless I go outside. Listen - russian tanks roll on the road (03:00am), and a few moments later  terrible explosions. The train with the refugees might have left the station maybe right in time. According to statements of refugees the machine was shot to damage at the Papenberg. In my opinion the train wasn´t further...
The shooting was at the station. Going home was impossible, as my apartmnent was at the station. "Max, come to the wood!" But Max did not want to leave his car at home. It was really dangerous, all was lighted by full moon-shine. In Max´s kitchen I reach for 2 sausages, the bottle cognac and Max takes the basket with food. -Into the garage - no light, to dangerous - start - out - away - all in one....

Railwaycrossing, 2 men. Oh shock - Russians! No, probably Polands! They shoot but didn´t hit us, good luck!
(comment: this railwaycrossing is a sandy field-path in direction Mallwitz)
After 100metres we have cover. Desperately poor, without luggage and only moderate clothed we are on the escape! What a shock!

Our basket with food was in the garage. But we were glad as the Ivan maybe was perplexed by the sound of our motor. We were proud we had a vehicle. On a by-way through the wood we drove, that was the only way to escape. In the wood we suddenly saw 3 horses and 2 riders. They were refugees too. On the chaussee Reselkow - Gervin - Kolberg all was full of vehicles parking there peacefully, and some slowly moving on. We expected the Russian to take this route too, so I opened the door and shouted to the people: " Move on, the Russian is in Roman!" In the area of Ruhnke, Strenin we picked up Mrs Müller and her daughter who were expelled on the road by Mrs Treetzen! So our car was full! In Jarchow informed Mr Berzow (Battery-leader of the Volkssturm) about this happening.

On the 4th march 1945 07:30am we arrived in Cammin.
Refugee-arrival centre: "Where is your order for moving?" "The Russian didn´t give us one!"
Before Cammin we meet the fire-brigade of the district Kolberg-Körlin. At the arrival centre we meet the east-prussian comrades, who should bring the equipment of Roman´s fire-brigade in safety. The leader who should drive one of the vehicles wasn´t there. As our car belonged to the brigade´s duty team and my friend Max, still wearing uniform, and I was the leader of the fire brigade-team of Roman, we joined them, what should be positive for the further journey. Fuel was rare. The district leader of Cammin, a nice old man wrote a moving-order for us, so we could move on. Hot coffee and honey-sandwiches refreshed us. Also I could feel the spirit true national comunity. As a warm, good deed Mrs Krahn, born in Brückenkrug gave me a wool-blanket and a pillow. I felt a little bit better. In hours of danger real national comunity is prooved indeed. Cammin received the packing oreder at the same time.

In the hours of midday we moved on to Wollin, crossed river Dievenow till 10km before Ostwine. At the ferry, in Ostwine, the first meeting again with Pommering, my wife, uncle Paul Janke and family, Emil Baer from Regenwalde (comment: Paul Janke is the brother in law of Bruno Stielow and not the uncle, but the kids allways called him "uncle" so later everybody did so). Also we had warm coffee. Glad to meet daughter Gerda, she was a German-Red-Cross nurse, who I expected to be captured in castle Kolberg. They were ordered to escape by foot along Kolberg-beach till Treptower-Deep. Then they were picked up by an Army car. -A real moving meeting in Ostwine. Also Gerda couldn´t save anything.

Uncle Paul and Pommering could cross with the ferry earlier. Our vehicles arrived in Swinemünde at 10:30pm. Allthough feeling sleepy the drive this night continued till Koserow. A few hours sleep (freezing) in the car.

6th march 1945: At 07:00am Max and I have a look around the town. A garage is found. The car is pushed there. The carburetor is defect. In the German House we receive a little can of coffee. As a result of the meeting at the ferry we can have a normal breakfast. For lunch we had good hot-pot. We were worried about the car. At least 6:00pm, not having slept, allways feeling cold allthough it wasn´t to cold, the journey continued via Wollgast till Jagdkrug - a lonely restaurant in a wood. Stop! We enter there - it is comfy warm. Though resistance of the landlord, who finally understood, we stayed. About 30 people belonged to our treck now, among them some babys. We camped there as good as possible. Max and I slept on a blanket on the floor. My wool-blanket also helped.

7th march 1945: Max and I leave the treck and take Mrs Müller and daughter to Gerda Hoppe in Jarmen. Nice breakfast sandwiches and a nice Korn (strong clear alcoholic drink) are welcome. Here we get information that the refugee train that left Roman 01:15am arrived well. Max, who wants to know about the arrival of his wife, decides to drive to town Anklam. As it is very stormy there we give up and arrive at Greifswald in the evening, our first destiny. We sleep in the Löns-school. 50 people - 1 room. We decide to sleep in the car. The 2nd half of the night is to cold, so I spend it under the roof in a small bed place in the school. Of course it was cold there, too. On the evening before the NSV gave us cabbage-soup, coffee and sandwiches.

At the 8th march 1945 we orders for moving on from the town major´s office. In the meantime we get information the refugee treck has moved further on. Our ways will be devided now, after my friend gave me all the things he has twice.
Comunity indeed. My train leaves 04:35pm in direction Jatznick. Arrival at Karl Mallon. Reunion with mom, Anneliese, family Janke, Emil Baer. Increase of 10 people in the small gate-keeper house. "Patient sheeps can be many in a single stable." A nice pure coffee, benefactor uncle Emil, excites the hearts.

09th march 1945: uncle Emil leaves us and settles in Pasewalk. Anneliese keeps the connection there and brings usefull things.
(Comment: also fuel, 40litres for the further journey to Rehm)

10th march 1945: grandfather arrives in Jatznick.
(Comment: he and aunt Elisabeth were seperated in city Stettin)

12th march 1945: connection with Mrs Harp from Pinnow in Pasewalk

13th march 1945: got the order for moving on from Jatznick to Rehm near Heide (state Schleswig Holstein, west Germany). At the same evening ride with a military car to Pasewalk.
(Comment: Anneliese Stielow and Heinz Janke were with him)

14th march 1945: 08:00am at the railway station, expecting the mail-train Stettin - Hamburg, conductor Wilhelm Ducherow from Pinnow. The train is late. Departure is at 12:00am. Good lodging in the mail-wagon. Change in Neubrandenburg, Express-train, also good accommodation. We drive till Altona, arrival 11:20pm. We spend the night in the station´s waiting room. Catering was good. All together you can say, things work well, here. You can see: "Need forms men".

15th march 1945: 05:35am from Altona to Lunden, arival 09:15 at Lunden. We search a place to stay in Rehm. Anneliese, Heinz Janke and I find after long searching a place at Wilhelm Wolter. I could sleep at Wolter´s and Anneliese and Heinz thankfully were taken by Mrs Schugardt.

19th march 1945: official registration in Lunden. We receive food-tickets.

20th march 1945: 1 room becomes vacant for us, without furnitures. Mrs Hansen gives us a nice room. There are good people who help us with needfull things. Also on the 20th, registration at the Army-registration office in Heide. At the same time I visit friend Lafrenz in Heide, who offers me a job. Registration at the district´s farmership and employment office. Work starts at 26th march 1945.

At 25th march 1945 brother in law Paul Janke and family, my wife (comment: Martha Stielow, maiden-name: Janke) and grandfather August Janke arrive with the rest of property. Grandfather can stay at Wilhelm Wolter´s. Family Janke gets a place improvised for the first night and gets an apartment on the 26th 1945 in Lunden (also state Schleswig Holstein, west Germany).

From the 26th march 1945 I am in Heide with Lafrenz. We spend the Easter time together in Rehm. These days the longing for our home in Pomerania wakes up.

1st and 2nd april 1945: I get a nice extra ration from Lafrenz. Working in Heide is a nice change. The air-attacks were our hated trouble makers. There were no big damages done.

At the 1st may 1945 Annelies Döpke arrived from Eberswalde at our place, as she found out our new adress.

In the week from 1st till 8th may 1945 rumors about armistice, that came true on the 8th may 1945. We received english occupiers. (with english and american armistice at the 5th may 1945, 8th may 1945 for all other parts). The occupation was very loyal, public exit only till 9:00pm, after 29th may 1945 till 10:15pm. Nobody was allowed to leave town or village. At the 1st july more loosening. Couldn´t go from heide to Rehm.
Sunday, on Whitsuntide, 19th may 1945 I drive to Rehm on my own risk. I worked out fine. Friend Lafrenz cared for us, we thank him for this for ever.